A 29-year-old man was charged with hate crimes Saturday in connection with the vandalization of four synagogues in the Bronx neighborhood of Riverdale over the past several days, Fox News reports.
Jordan Burnette, who lives in the neighborhood was charged with burglary as a hate crime and “numerous charges related to the many acts of vandalism as hate crimes that have taken place in this community,” Deputy Inspector Jessica Corey of the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force said in a news conference Sunday.
Corey did not say what his motive was. The investigation is ongoing.
According to reports, over the last month synagogues in the borough were damaged by rocks hurled at doors and windows in repeated antisemitic attacks at the Chabad of Riverdale, Riverdale Jewish Center, Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel and Young Israel of Riverdale, leaving community leaders on edge.
Last week Burnette struck again after midnight, throwing a rock through a window at the Riverdale Jewish Youth Library. Officers stationed in front of the Jewish Center failed to deter the suspect, according to the report. Security video of the suspect shows him hurling rocks at the rear glass doors of the building on Monday.
Additional photos of individual wanted for questioning for multiple acts of vandalism of synagogues in @NYPD50Pct in Riverdale.
— NYPD Hate Crimes (@NYPDHateCrimes) April 25, 2021
Police officers were on patrol in Riverdale around 3 a.m. Saturday when they say they saw Burnette riding a bike against traffic on Delafield Avenue at West 246th Street.
The officers stopped him and tried to write him a ticket, Corey said Burnette became uncooperative and refused to provide proper identification, so he was taken into custody and brought him to the 50th Precinct station for questioning.
Burnette matched the description of the suspect wanted in the string of attacks on Jewish centers, officers then went back to the location to survey the area and discovered a van with a broken windshield.
Police said video from a nearby security camera captured Burnette throwing a rock at the van and showed him leaving the parking lot of the nearby Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale.
An individual has been arrested and charged with numerous Hate Crimes involving multiple synagogues in Riverdale. @NYPDShea @NYPDChiefOfDept @NYPDDetectives @NYPDPBBronx @ADL_NYNJ @JCRCNY @TheCSSorg https://t.co/pKo5jUu1te
— NYPD Hate Crimes (@NYPDHateCrimes) May 1, 2021
At the synagogue the officers found shredded prayer books strewn about and a shed that contained bikes had been broken into.
The synagogue caretaker confirmed to police that a bicycle stolen from the shed matched the one Burnette was riding when he was arrested, Corey said.
“I think that this will bring a great sense of relief to that community,” said John Miller, the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism at the news conference Sunday. “Hopefully life will resume back to normal and people will be able to worship without fear.”
The New York Post reported Burnette faces a number of other “hate crime-related charges, including criminal mischief, aggravated harassment and criminal trespass, police said. He is also charged with petit larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, trespass and driving the wrong way on a one-way street.”